Uh oh. Microsoft granted patent on spyware removal

And their process is predictably so general as to make all other anti-spyware programs such as MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware in violation of their patent:

This pretty much the way all anti-spyware programs work, so we can expect lawsuits against the smaller yet more efficient spyware removal programs.

This is not good.

This will not end well for someone, although they are likely to come up against somebody who will fight until the patent is destroyed. Frankly, I don’t see how this can possibly stand up to even the most rudimentary analysis in court no matter how much money is thrown at it. It would be like trying to patent fire.

Geez. I really, really wish the Patent and Trademark Office still felt some obligation to deny unworthy patents, instead of fobbing it off on wronged parties and the courts.

Software patents are utterly insane. They protect individual components of software, not the finished product, which completely destroys innovation and competition if the patent holder chooses to exercise it.

Sounds pretty easy to establish prior art on this one, simply send 'em to lavasoft.com or www.safer-networking.org.

Well, why don’t you write your congressman and get them to increase the funding of the PTO several hundred times over?

Because you do realize that if the PTO engaged in these sorts of decisions, they would have to design and implement and entire system of administrative law courts and judges, hire lawyers skilled in every area of science, promulgate an entire new and large set of administrative rules, and spend at least 20 times as long examining every single patent, which means that they will also require patent agents who are skilled in those areas as well.

Or they could just leave these cases alone until people with both the interest and knowledge to correct any issues come along, instead of adding yet another couple of layers of bureaucracy and spending your hard earned taxpayer dollars on determining if “using a playground swing sideways” is covered by prior art when no one actually gives a shit.

I get so tired of these retarded “So and so got a patent” outrage stories that crop up. It’s always “how can they grant that?” and “ZOMG, like it’s fair use/adverse possession! No wait, I mean prior art!” which is about the extent of their patent law experience. The sky isn’t falling, and it really will have no effect on you whatsoever.

It’s never going to be the hulking corporate behemoth grinding down the heroic little guy with lawsuits because they can’t compete on a level field (lolzers at that last conceit). It’s always one faceless corporation versus another, spending tiny (to them) amounts of money, if it even comes down to a lawsuit, which it never does, because the lawyers for the big boys aren’t stupid, either.

In other news, Apple has patented the for loop.

That would be easy enough; that congressman could send them a few bucks in the mail.

The PTO is entirely funded by user fees; and that is the reason why it is willing to grant a patent to anyone waving money at it. You can’t expect anything resembling judgment or principle out of something like that; it’s tailor made for corruption.

…but my new FOR - NEXT Loop is not derivitive work, its totally unique!

I don’t think the USPTO is corrupt. It’s a damn hard job trying to determine what part of an invent is truly novel, what isn’t, and having to have an understanding of the entire relevant IP search space associated with each and every patent. It’s a thankless job too, and few people can do it for more than a couple of years before they burn out.

And as long as the invalid patent holder is required to cover the challenger’s complete court costs. That would cut down on some of this stupid frivolous patent filing.

Actually, Apple did the opposite of Microsoft and patented Adware.

I’m… not sure which is more evil.

I’m sure a few programmers will get a chuckle out of this patent.

Chuckle??!!!? It almost gave me a stroke. Patenting linked lists in 2002 is like patenting respiration. If this is at all typical of the prior art research at USPTO, then they should go back to only patenting things you can drop on your foot. :mad: Please tell me that the issue date was April 1st, instead of April 11th, so I can delude myself that this is a joke gone wrong.

Sadly, the Patent Office has pretty much washed its hands of any kind of software. Frankly, I don’t thik software should be patentable in the first place. Patents have basically become a very expensive form of extortion in the software industry, and companies simply use them as threats or counter-threats.

Basically, the patent office’s asine idiocy has led to a situation which encourages and practically forces companies to act like mafioso. Microsoft actually isn’t too bad about this (probably better than Apple, from what I hear, which has a bad rep on the matter). But basically, companies aim to patent anything, because once they have the moronic patent, they have a weapon to either extort from others or defend against extortion.

So, I’m looking at the claims and, while I don’t know much about the specifics of previous anti-spyware programs, I’m struggling to see here what allegedly separates Microsoft’s patent from the prior art.

Here’s claim 1:

From skimming the patent’s specification, it seems that Microsoft is claiming that their patent is an advancement over the prior art systems by targeting (1) “high impact” malware (“e.g., malware that is particularly destructive and/or prolific”) and (2) active malware. Microsoft says that, by focusing on those two, their system doesn’t drain time and resources like the previous systems do.

I haven’t read through the patent in detail, but claim 1 explicitly limits itself to “active malware,” so that’s where anyone looking to invalidate this patent needs to start.

“Never” is a big word. It seems unlikely to be true in this context. How so?

I’m guessing that patent was filed specifically with the intention of producing said chuckle/near-strokes and not in earnest?

ETA: Well, I suppose it’s not just a simple linked list; there is all this business about auxiliary pointers and traversing in different orders. Which makes it less implausible that it was filed in earnest. Still, pretty straightforward stuff, not really the sort of thing I’d like considered patentable…

I don’t know tons about computers or software, so I’m confused. Why would they having a patent allow them to intimidate all competitors, spy removal software has been around for years. How could they patent a form of software that has been around for years?

Is there a real risk they will start intimidating (free) competitors into shutting down? What about Windows vs. Linux, or IE vs Firefox? Why hasn’t MS patented something to shut down Linux, Firefox, or Google documents, or something like that?